Tuesday 20 November 2018

St Albans

We spent two days in St Albans last week as we were attending a book launch.

St Albans was the first major town on the old Roman road of Watling Street for travellers heading north and it became the Roman city of Verulanium. it's a historic market town and is now a dormitory town within the London commuter belt.

The town's history is long: there was an Iron Age settlement known as Verulanium; the Roman city developed from the Celtic settlement and became the second largest town in Roman Britain and grew into a significant town; after the Roman withdrawal it became the centre of the territory of the Anglo-Saxon Waeclingas tribe; the medieval town grew on the hill to the east of the Waeclingacaester where the Benedictine Abbey of St Albans was founded, the principal  medieval abbey in England; before the 20th century St Albans was a rural market town, a Christian pilgrimage site, and the first coaching stop of the route to and from London, accounting for its numerous old ins; today, it's a major tourist attraction.

It's a prosperous town, with interesting independent shops and lots of bars and restaurants.

The High Street is wide and spacious, in contrast

to the smaller, narrow, medieval lanes

old houses

timber-framed buildings

and interesting alleyways you want to go and explore.

The magnificent Corn Exchange, erected in 1857, is a clothes shop now.

The Clock Tower, built between 1405 and 1412, is a medieval belfry almost unique in England. It contains a large curfew bell dating from 1335. Unfortunately, it was closed when we visited as it's open by volunteers on Saturdays and Sundays only.

This small door on the side says 'Do not commit a nuisance'.

The Cathedral is magnificent

We enjoyed walking around the Cathedral area

and admired this Remembrance bench.

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